Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault, just before a vote for his confirmation was to take place on Thursday, September 20. In their haste to confirm a Supreme Court justice who would support their agenda, however, most Republican federal lawmakers are willing to diminish the gravity of the accusations against Kavanaugh. After all, having Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court would create a conservative majority on the court – a Republican dream come true.
Democrats, a few key Republicans, and even White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, want to give Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, a chance to be heard before a vote is cast for Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation. Among the Republican Senators who oppose an immediate vote are Lindsey Graham of North Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine.
Besides the obvious and grave importance of taking allegations of sexual assault seriously and giving both sides a chance to be heard in court, there are several other reasons why it’s important to delay the vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination until both Ford and Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
First is the attention the #MeToo movement has brought to sexual assault and sexual misconduct by powerful men (and how they’ve gotten away with it in the past). If Republicans were to ignore or downplay the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, it would surely cost them votes in the November elections.
As CNN’s Stephen Collinson writes, “The spectacle of white, middle-aged or elderly men on the GOP bench voting to confirm Kavanaugh in the committee could prove a damaging image in districts that could turn on a younger, more diverse electorate.”
Second, a Supreme Court Justice appointment is for life – it’s not the same as a summer job at the Dairy Queen. An ice cream stand employee may be hired quickly, likely won’t undergo an extensive background check, and can be fired at will. Dairy Queen can afford to take a chance on the employee.
The U.S. cannot afford to take such a chance on an employee who is appointed for life. A Supreme Court justice can have a huge impact on the direction of our country. That impact can last indefinitely, as could his or her position on the Supreme Court. Thorough scrutiny is imperative, and more so in the face of allegations of wrongdoing.
Failure to thoroughly vet Brett Kavanaugh in favor of quickly pushing him through the appointment process could backfire for Republicans. Trying to force their agenda by downplaying the accusations against him could be a short-term win for the Republicans, but could cost them votes in November. It may cost them votes, even at this point, however, if they continue to speak out against allowing Kavanaugh’s accuser to share her story.
New Kavanaugh hearing to address allegations | Fox Business [2018-09-17]
Full Duckworth: Senate Has To ‘Set An Example’ By Taking Kavanaugh Allegations | MTP Daily | MSNBC [2018-09-17]